A revolution in the craft: How one man’s courage changed journalism


Natalie Moore

More than 6,000 student journalists and advisors sat waiting in the Marriott Wardman Park Ballroom in Washington D.C for Bob Woodward, the keynote speaker to kick off the NSPA/JEA National Journalism Convention.

About a month before myself and six other advanced journalist left to Washington DC I learned I would be sitting in the same room as one of the best reporters in the world, in my own opinion. I read Woodward and fellow reporter Carl Bernstein’s book “All the Presidents Men” in my junior year and it was then that I realized how groundbreaking their investigation was.

Woodward is most famously known for his work in the 1970s with Bernstein. Together they uncovered what has been called the greatest political stunt in American history, the Watergate Scandal.

During the 1972 presidential election, five men were selected by Attorney General John Mitchell under Richard Nixon’s presidency to collect information from the Democratic National Committee Headquarters, located in the Watergate Hotel. They were later arrested, leading to Nixon’s fall.

President Nixon resigned about two years after Woodward and Bernstein’s Pulitzer Prize-winning article was published in The Washington Post. Vice President Gerald R. Ford, who assumed the presidency after Nixon, later pardoned Nixon of all charges related to the case.

“You’ve asked me (why I pardoned President Nixon) and you’re starting to bore me,” President Ford said to Woodward in an interview after he assumed presidency. “I did it for the country. We needed to move on.”

Woodward later came to the conclusion that this act of corruption, as America saw it, was actually an act of courage. Nixon’s pardon gave closure to a shaken country, allowing American citizens to finally move on from the scandal.

Woodward also took investigative journalism to the next level, doing revolutionary work for his era. By using one of the most famous anonymous sources, Deep Throat, he revolutionized the world of hard hitting investigative journalism.

He and Bernstein are the reason President Nixon resigned and was almost impeached. These two men began the war with the President of the United States. What’s more, they won.

The courage that Woodward displayed is not a quality just one journalist should have, but one students and people all should desire to have. The President is one of the most influential people in America, and these two ordinary men were able to go up against him because they believed in something so strongly.

Having the strength to stand up for what I believe in is something I strive to have. If everyone had a tenth of the courage Woodward had, many of our modern problems could be prevented.